Kongthong Nanthavongdouangsy is Co-founder and Head of Technique and Materials Development for Phaeng Mai Gallery. She was born into a weaving family from Samneua, Houaphanh Province. She has a master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Philology at Pyatigorsk, Former Soviet Union.

Kongthong sat at the loom and learnt how to weave when she was 8 years old. Now she is a master weaver of floor loom weaving, and a tutor of weaving for Lao and international students.

In 1992 her work won the UNESCO prize for an Outstanding Contribution to the Creativity in Traditional Textiles and in 2006 an award from the Seal of Excellence Asian Pacific Handicraft Development Association. In 2010, Kongthong was nominated by the Ministry of Information and Culture and Tourism as an outstanding artist for fine art. In 2013, she was nominated ASEAN Master Craftsmen on Textile (ASEAN Secretary Project), Malaysia. In 2014, Asian Living Human Treasurers, ASIA Cooperation Dialogue, Manila, Philippines. In 2015, she received ASEAN Craft Innovation, awarded from SACICT, Bangkok Thailand. In 2016, she was awarded with the Gold Medal by the Government of Lao PDR.


In addition to being involved in my family’s weaving studio, I have worked with many governmental organizations, both national and international. For example I have worked as National Expert on Handicraft and National Consultant and trainer for Sericulture for TDF project under National Implementation Unit (NIU), Ministry of Industry and Commerce. I worked as an international consultant for ITC/UNCTAD/ WTO in Thimphu, Bhutan as well as in Champasack, Laos. I worked for UNIDO for the handicrafts products in Oudomxay Province Laos. I worked as International Consultant for UNDP in Thimphu, Bhutan on weaving. I worked as National Consultant for DED/GTZ on Cotton handicraft in Sayabouli, Laos. I worked as International Consultant on Silk Design for DED/GTZ in Uboun Rachathani, Thailand.

The Art of Lao Silk

Lao woven textile development has a long history, and the richness of the textiles always reflects its important role to embody the stories of the country and its people. A central task of the textiles is to serve the community as important objects for ritual ceremonies – and many designs were created with certain shapes and features to go with the peoples’ beliefs, Animist and Buddhist rituals all have textiles designed to narrate their worship. Another use for Lao textiles is to emphasize one’s own personality by wearing quality fabrics as artful crafted souvenirs.